Criminal Injury Compensation needs to be reviewed urgently after the revelation that money is to be awarded to the family of murdered RIRA man Kieran Doherty, an MLA has claimed.
TUV leader Jim Allister said he will press Justice Minster David Ford on the issue in light of the news that Mr Doherty’s family has been awarded a “substantial” sum in compensation after his death in 2010.
Mr Allister said the compensation award displays the lack of consistency for victims in Northern Ireland.
“It is typical of the topsy turvy state of Northern Ireland that the families of innocent victims of terrorists should receive pittance in compensation while the families of terrorists receive large pay-outs.
“Victims see convicted terrorists elevated to the highest offices in the land and, until recently, criminals rewarded for their crimes by being gifted posts as Special Advisers.
“There are many unanswered questions relating to this criminal injury compensation, which would not have arisen if the former provision for a public hearing in front of a judge had not been dispensed with in financially driven amendments to the law. How was dependency established in this case? Had the deceased a convincing work record and contribution record to his mother and grandmother, bearing in mind he is said to have had a partner? Was she too compensated? What deduction, if any, was made for the deceased’s character, criminal record and conduct?”
Speaking on Monday Doherty’s uncle, Vinnie Coyle, said the family were happy with the amount of compensation.
He told BBC Radio Ulster: “But what’s more important to the family is, in their opinion, Kieran’s name has been cleared because the PSNI evidence, and the evidence that the PSNI produced on behalf of MI5 and the security services, did not stand up to very, very close scrutiny.”
He said the family had suffered as well.
“They are victims and it’s my belief, and the belief of the Doherty family, that victims should be fully, openly and honestly compensated for acts carried out on family members.”
Tom Elliott, an Ulster Unionist member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, added his shock and outrage at the sum awarded.